20 Palm Beach County, Florida, public schools had to close off all drinking water fountains on campus and utilize bottled water as a result of the tap water advisory.
City officials issued a drinking water advisory after they found Cylindrospermopsin, a toxin produced by cyanobacteria which is also known as blue-green algae, in the drinking water from West Palm Beach’s Water Treatment Plant, reported NBC2 News.
The School District of Palm Beach County in Florida has a water advisory in effect.
As a result, 20 public schools had to close off all drinking water fountains on campus and utilize bottled water instead.
The elevated levels were discovered in the raw water samples collected from the East Lobe of Clear Lake and the finished water at the treatment plant that supplies water to the City of West Palm Beach, Town of Palm Beach, and Town of South Palm Beach. This tap water serves 120,000 residents, reported the Sun Sentinel.
School Food Services ensured that all meals on campuses are safe.
West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James said that it will take time to clear the toxins from the tap water.
“We had not seen this before in all the testing we had done since 2016, and to our knowledge, nor has any surface water plant in the state as it is an unrelated contaminant that does not have a defined EPA rule,” said James, reported the Sun Sentinel.
According to the city, the West Palm Beach Department of Public Utilities began powdered activated carbon treatment and temporary free chlorine water disinfection. The city also introduced groundwater from the Eastern Wellfield and Western Wellfield to help reduce levels of algae in the system.
According to West Palm Beach Public Utilities Director Poonam Kalkat, the city is getting assistance from the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, which made its airplane available to fly water samples to Tallahassee for testing by the state Department of Environmental Protection, reported The Palm Beach Post.
See the list of the schools that are under the drinking water advisory here.